The ride to Ob Khan National Park has long been one of my favourite rides. Indeed it was my very first ride of the week. Recently though a number of new roads have been built, dramatically transforming this ride. And it has all been for the better. A big thank you to the Thai Highways Department.
We still start the ride from the regular PTT / Cafe Amazon meeting point on Canal Road (highway 121) about 600 metres south of the intersection with Suthep Road and make our way to the Samoeng Road via the scenic back route and a short climb. But now we have a choice to make and what a choice it is.
The first option is to turn left as though we are doing the traditional route but, before we reach the Canyon Road, turn off onto a brand new, undulating road that takes us onto the Ob Khan Road. We’ve taken to calling this road New Hope after the dog shelter that is somewhere along here.
The second option is to turn right and take the old concrete road leading to the village of Ban Huai Sieo. Until a couple of months ago this road turned to dirt just past the village. Now we have beautiful, smooth tarmac. This road emerges a few kilometres further west on the Ob Khan road.
Whichever route we take, we are confronted by a short, steep climb but rewarded with stunning scenery. The climb on the Ban Huai Sieo road is the longer and harder but both routes are fabulous so we tend to alternate.
The climb up to the Park HQ and the descent after is as pretty as it ever was but we no longer stop at the bottom of the descent. Instead we continue another 4 kilometres on more brand new tarmac (thanks again Thai Highways Department) through beautiful, rolling scenery to a small village and the picturesque temple, Wat Nin Prapha.
We’ll usually return along the route we didn’t come on. Going back on New Hope is definitely the easier way. The climbs are maybe a little longer but more gradual. Going back via Ban Huai Sieo gives you a short but properly steep climb.
The new route is shorter than the traditional one but hillier, with five or six short hills to get the heart pumping. Ridden hard, this is an excellent short training ride with the rolling terrain providing natural ‘intervals’. This may only be a short ride but it punches far above its weight.
- The village of Ban Huai Sieo was, until very recently pretty much at the end of a concrete road that went nowhere. The residents will have seen very little traffic. There are toddlers and elderly in this village who do not have much traffic sense. I hope we always ride cautiously through local villages but please take extra care through Ban Huai Sieo. This particularly applies to the descent into the village when heading southbound. Please resist the temptation to race down the descent.
- There is a Strava segment (Ob Khan to temple) at the far end of this ride. The final 400 metres of this segment is the road leading to the temple. It is usually littered with sleeping dogs. Please don’t race on this road.
Facts at a glance
Distance: 58 kilometres
Elevation Gain: 970 metres
Terrain: Rolling with some short hills
Type: There and back with a loop in the middle.
Road surface: Moderate to excellent.
Traffic: Moderate to quiet